Spurn 2008

Spurn trip report – Friday 26th of September to Sunday 28th of September 2008

Friday 26th

After the long journey from home we arrived at the crown and anchor pub at around 10. On arrival we could see many birders milling around and stood in the car park. Getting out of the car the first bird I put my bins on was a Yellow-browed warbler. This little gem of a bird was flitting in one of the willow trees and provided us with an instant tick. What a great start!

There really were birders everywhere scouring every bush in the hope of a rarity! A warbler was feeding in an elderberry tree and although appearing to be twitched it was a Garden warbler. After watching these warblers we decided on a walk around the triangle. There were migrants everywhere and we soon had seen Redstart, Whinchat, Pied flycatcher, Spotted flycatcher and Wheatear. Glancing through the waders on the river revealed Knot in their thousands Golden plover, Grey plover, Dunlin, Redshank and a very smart Curlew sandpiper which allowed us to get some good photos.

Scanning the wires around the triangle again produced our second lifetime tick of the day in the form of a lovely Red-backed Shrike. The bird was showing well before flying further away. Stonechat, Reed bunting and Linnet were also noted.

After the fantastic birding around the triangle we drove slowly towards the point. As we were driving we spotted a Great Grey Shrike on the wires! This cracking bird showed very well and we watched it down to a few meters getting some great photos. We carried on to chalk bank hide where plenty of waders were seen. Turnstone, Sanderling, Whimbrel, Bar-tailed godwit and Ringed plover were added to the list. After scanning for a long time and hopes fading we managed to pick up the long staying Shore Lark.


This lovely bird was extremely camouflaged on the rocks and it was really great to find it. Also from the hide a flock of 14 Dark-bellied Brent Goose were present including 1 Pale-bellied Brent Goose which was the first for both of us.

We carried on to the point and en-route saw a Wheatear eating a large grub and over the estuary saw a Peregrine falcon. At the point we scoured the scrub and managed to find another Yellow-browed Warbler along with a Lesser Whitethroat.


After a cracking days birding at dusk we had another scan over the triangle picking up a lovely Barn Owl before having a meal and a pint at the crown and anchor.


Saturday 27th


After a good night sleep we woke at first light for a walk. We watched a Barn owl hunting and also 3 Sandwich Tern flew over. We then headed for the hide looking over a small pool and got excellent views of both Snipe and Water Rail managing to photograph both of them. In the bushes behind the pond were many Tree Sparrow and the Great Grey Shrike was lurking giving only brief views.  Unfortunately it was now time to leave for Flamborough and after looking at a flock of Golden plover on a ploughed field nearby we hit the road.






A short stop off at Hornsea mere en-route produced a Slavonian Grebe and drake Scaup and shortly after, we arrived at Flamborough head. With most of the migrants and rare birds having cleared out we decided to watch the sea. In around an hour we watched up to 10 Red-throated Diver flying by along with a single Manx Shearwater close in. An Eider was also spotted floating on the sea. The only migrants seen were Whinchat and a Whitethroat.


We decided to go to Bempton cliffs to finish the day and after watching Tree Sparrows on the feeders and Gannets on the cliffs a Short-eared Owl showed up just as the light was fading to give a perfect end to a great day.


Sunday 28th


After a lovely breakfast we were ready for the cruise and boarded the Yorkshire Belle full of excitement in the hope of some Skuas and Shearwaters. Shortly after leaving the harbour Common scoter were seen with Kittiwake, Fulmar, Gannet, Shag and Cormorant all being seen regularly. Rafts of auks meant Razorbill, Guillemot and Puffin were all noted.


As if out of nowhere Skuas started to appear when the chum was put out. Two Arctic Skua were seen lingering around the boat (1 pale phase and 1 dark phase) and two Great Skua showed well harassing the gulls. Five Sooty Shearwater were seen on the trip and two sat on the water close enough to get a record shot. Little Gulls proved easy to pick out and the second ever Roseate Tern provided an added bonus. It was a fantastic trip and on returning to shore saw a Red-throated Diver a Wheatear coming in off the sea and nearing the harbour saw a flock of four Velvet Scoter which was a first for us although being distant.


After the cruise we walked around Bridlington harbour and found three Purple Sandpiper showing very well on the rocks below. There were also many Knot and Turnstone and fewer Dunlin and Redshank. For the rest of the day we wandered round at Flamborough watching a couple of Rock Pipit and Wheatear and more Red-throated Diver on the Sea.


The trip had proved to be a great success and after watching a thicket at Bempton cliffs for an hour which supposedly held a Barred Warbler we drove the long road back to Cheltenham.